Kiplinger’s Best Firms for Customer Service

Banks, Credit Cards, and More

To assess how well major banks, credit card issuers and mortgage lenders treat their clients, we evaluated home and auto insurances as well as major banks.

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You should carefully consider the interest rates, fees and policy premiums of any institution you select to offer your checking, credit, or mortgage account. Customer service is often overlooked. This is because you must be a customer to evaluate the quality of the service. If you haven’t had to deal with poor customer service before, you will know how frustrating it can be. You may not have a place to call home or a vehicle to drive for as long as you planned if your mortgage lender fails to get you to closing on time or your auto insurance delays paying for repairs after an accident. If banks or credit card issuers fail to promptly stop fraudulent transactions, or address any other problems with your accounts, then superior interest rates and lower fees won’t matter.

We present our second annual ranking of large financial service firms to help you improve your decision-making process. Based on the way they treat clients, we have evaluated major banks, credit card issuers and mortgage lenders. We conducted a national survey last fall of the customers of 10 companies in each category. Respondents were asked to rate the firms on various aspects of their experiences. We selected the five to six highest scoring finalists in each category based on whether there were any tie-ups. Then we put each firm under scrutiny.

To determine if customers are being served well by their digital tools, we also considered consumer complaints regarding the companies that were tracked by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. To determine the gold, silver, and bronze medalists for each category of our research, we tallied scores and then selected the top digital tools-equipped firms. (For more information on how we selected the winners, please see the end.)

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The key message is that customer service excellence and financial terms can be combined. All of the banks that received our customer service awards also appeared in our latest rankings of the top banks based on account yields, fees and other criteria (see The Best Bank for You). All of the credit card issuers listed in this article were included in our most recent rankings of credit cards. This was based on their generous rewards programs (see The Best Reward Cards for You).

Kiplinger’s Best Firms for Customer Service: Banks

  • Chase Gold
  • Silver: Wells Fargo
  • Bronze: TD Bank

You can interact with bank representatives to help you manage your checking, savings, certificate of deposit, or loan accounts. Access to digital tools is essential if you do your banking online. Even if you visit the branch only occasionally, being able to deposit checks and get account notifications via your phone can help you save time and alert you when there is unusual activity in your accounts.

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Despite the close competition among bank contestants Chase won out. Chase is the U.S.’s largest bank, both in terms of domestic assets ($2.5 trillion), and domestic deposits ($2 trillion). There are more than 4,700 branches in 48 states and Washington, D.C., which means that customers who prefer to use the bank’s services in person will have no problem finding a location.

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Chase won partly due to its strong performance in our analysis of CFPB complaints data. Nearly one-fourth of the complaints against Chase concerned issues with account deposits or withdrawals. This included slow or halted transfer times or delays in funds being available to customers. Other issues included closing customer accounts, using an ATM, debit card, and unauthorised account charges by lenders or companies. However, Chase was ranked among the top two institutions in almost every attribute according to our survey of current customers.